Will Hickey

The man with the taped-up fingers - Will Hickey

Following on from his first start against the Vodacom Bulls on the weekend, we spoke to backrower Will Hickey earlier in the week, around our South Africa tour, the move from Ireland to Wales and the reason behind the white tape he wears on his fingers.

Tough game against the Vodacom Bulls on the weekend, but you were able to make your first start for the Ospreys, how are you feeling?

 Yeah it’s great to finally get the opportunity because I've been waiting for it for a long time. I’ve had a couple of injuries that have gotten in the way but I’m ok now so it's a good time to be ready to go. With the international boys being gone, there's opportunities to play for some of the younger boys.

The first start was under difficult circumstances with the heat and it being against the Vodacom Bulls. And obviously the Bulls have a real strong team, but hopefully it’ll lead to a potential run of gametime for me.


The fans might have spotted your taped up fingers in the game. What’s the reasoning behind it?

So I actually have a condition called hyperhidrosis, it’s to do with the nervous system and it causes me to sweat excessively. I only started taping my fingers up three or four years ago because my hands would get really clammy.

When I was playing it would cause me to drop the ball more and I’d get the ball stripped off me too easily, so taping my fingers really helps with that. Especially in a hot place like South Africa.


What was your road to this point? Talk us through your rugby pathway.

I started for one of my local clubs in Dublin. From there, I played in school in St. Michael's College, which is a big rugby school, lots of professionals in the last couple of years come from St. Michael's. After St Michaels I went to the Leinster Academy and was there for a year but that didn't work out and then I received a call from Mike Ruddock asking if I wanted to play for the Ospreys.

Mike’s got a great reputation as a coach and he lived and coached in Ireland for years. He knew some of my school coaches so that’s how the contact began. I was talking to a few clubs at the time, but the Ospreys made the most sense for me. They’ve got a great history and they’ve had loads of international players and British and Irish Lions over the years.


Second time in South Africa for you, how’ve you been spending your free time?

Yeah I’m pretty familiar with Stellenbosch because we stayed at the Stellenbosch Academy of Sport last time as well. So a lot of the same stuff we did last time, food and all that stuff. The food’s great here.

Outside of Stellenbosch, I know a few of the boys have tried to go up Table Mountain a few times but it's been called off due to clouds or wind.


Big game against the Cell-C Sharks this week, what’s the mood in camp?

Yeah we’re feeling good. I think we were probably guilty last week a little bit of respecting the Vodacom Bulls a little bit too much. In the third quarter of the game that we could’ve been slightly more accurate in what we were doing.

Going into the Sharks, we know the public won't give us much of a chance in this game and they have some real big players playing as well, which will be really exciting. But the team’s ready to kick on from last week and hopefully come away with the win.


First start for the Ospreys ticked off, any more goals for you in the future?

Since I’ve come over here I’ve been so focussed on outcomes and goals for so long but now I like to take it week by week. With injuries and team selection, there’s so many variables in rugby. I’ve just got to focus on the now and helping out the team.

This time last month, I wasn't sure if I'd be on the plane here and now I’ve made my first start for the Ospreys so yeah, I’m just focusing on what I can control, week by week.